SR-710 North project awareness campaign

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As you peruse the internet and local print publications in the coming weeks, you may notice an ad similar to the one posted above, as seen on latimes.com. It’s part of Metro’s ongoing effort to let the public know that the draft environmental impact report/statement (DEIR/S) for the SR-710 North project is scheduled for public release in February. The ads encourage the public to “Learn the facts; Get Involved; Be part of the solution.”

The study is a big deal. The DEIR/S is funded by Measure R — the half-cent sales tax approved by nearly 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008 — and has been in the works since early 2011. The project aims to improve traffic in the western San Gabriel Valley and the surrounding area, with a particular focus on the communities near the four-mile gap in the 710 freeway between El Sereno/Alhambra and Pasadena and the regional impact of the gap on other freeways.

The five alternatives being studied are: a freeway tunnel (with and without tolls, with express bus service and with local traffic and intersection improvements); bus rapid transit between East Los Angeles and Pasadena; light rail between East Los Angeles and Pasadena; road, intersection and traffic signal improvements (officially known as Transportation Systems Management or TSM), and; the legally-required no-build option.

There have already been almost 100 community meetings and more than 200 stakeholder briefings – with more to come. While there’s no getting around the fact that the tunnel alternative remains controversial in some quarters, Metro has tried to raise awareness of the five alternatives equally and encourages public participation during the upcoming 90-day comment period following the release of the DEIR/S. The Metro Board of Directors will ultimately select a preferred alternative and forward their recommendation to Caltrans — but that only will come after hearing what the public has to say about the environmental studies.

Here’s the project web page on metro.net. The “facts vs. fiction” section is part of the ongoing effort to explain some of the basics about the study and project for those who have not been following the work. The public can receive updates on the upcoming environmental document release by signing up at: http://www.metro.net/projects/sr-710-conversations/commentquestion-form/

 

15 replies

  1. The SR-710 IS an important study. So why then, are they only allowing 90 days to review and comment on the report that is expected to be upwards of 10,000 pages. And why is it that ONLY 2 public meetings are scheduled. Really? Compare that to other studies of less impact like the High Desert Corridor who has 3 public meetings. What is wrong here? The Fact vs. Fiction sheet is pure fiction and propaganda, in my opinion. Get the facts at no710.com.

      • Barbara Messina, is that you?? No, I don’t want the tunnel built. Period. Have you been following the fiasco in Seattle and the millions of dollars that are being wasted there daily? I know that there are supporters and lobbyists that want the tunnel built at any cost but you cannot convince me that 4 times the current amount of traffic will be good for anyone, especially Alhambra. The numbers just do not support this complete waste of taxpayer money. There are far better, less expensive, 21st century solutions.

  2. An accurate description of the 710-Tunnel, and absent from the description posted on Metro Source, is that “traffic” in the “toll” tunnel includes fleets of smoggy long distance diesel trucks hauling container loads from the port to inland destinations. In fact many believe that serving the port is the primary reason for the 710-Tunnel and not local traffic improvement. Put those containers on the much cleaner and fuel efficient railroads!

    • Hi Tom;

      The tunnel alternative considers a prohibition on trucks. No decision has yet been made.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Well yes, that is Metro’s official position. However, there is a huge pile of documentation that Metro, Caltrans and SCAG have no intention to disallow trucks from the tunnel. Here is a press release from 2011 in which Metro states that the SR-710 will be an important component of goods movement from the ports. http://www.metro.net/news/simple_pr/metros-highway-program-shifts-high-gear-18-new-pro/ This is one of many such documents that we have collected.

        “While this year’s 18 projects and the I-405 are designed primarily to give people a better commute, three other high-profile projects in various planning stages but not yet scheduled, address the demands of commerce — specifically goods movement from the twin ports of L.A. and Long Beach, the two busiest ports in the country, and goods movement from California’s Central Valley, America’s bread basket.

        The I-710 south from the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will involve a freeway widening and possibly a separate freight corridor that could be tolled.

        The 710 north gap closure between the I-10 and the I-210 would complete the natural goods corridor that was begun several decades ago. Metro has been holding a series of conversations and outreach with the community, in an effort to collect ideas on best options.

        A third, the High Desert Corridor, will be a brand new 63-mile east-west freeway between SR-14 in Los Angeles County and SR-18 in San Bernardino County. It would create a shortcut for goods movement from the Central Valley to the rest of the United States and trim back goods congestion through the L.A. basin.

        Like infrastructure investment, goods movement investment is an investment in our future, Failing said.”

        • Hey Susan;

          Thanks for the comment. The link you provided is to a news release from 2011. I think it’s worth noting that news releases are not part of the environmental study process. No decision has yet been made on whether to build a tunnel or whether trucks would be allowed or whether it’s tolled.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

      • Hi. Originally and nowadays, the I-710 is Officially known as the Long Beach Freeway. I believe the demand of trucks from Long Beach or forward to Long Beach is more more more higher than the private cars in a completed Long Beach Freeway, but as you said “The tunnel alternative considers a prohibition on trucks. No decision has yet been made”. For sure, if “the tunnel alternative considers a prohibition on trucks”, it will release the traffic in the some main Longitudinal local roads which cross the cities between I-210 and I-10, such as Del Mar Ave, Atlantic Blvd, Los Robles Ave, Fair Oaks Ave and Fremont Ave.

      • Fair enough, Steve. The EIR has not yet come out stating whether there will be tolls, trucks or even a tunnel. I have every confidence that Metro/Caltrans/CH2MHill will be thorough in their analyses. I am less confident that they can be impartial on the various alternatives.

        However, all roads lead to the previous assumption of a tolled tunnel with trucks. The 2007 USC Keston Financial Charrette concluded that the SR-710 should be built for goods movement and has been followed in this process. Many of the names listed on the Charrette are associated with the SR-710 study, tunnel advocates or tunnel builders.

        SCAG stated in their 2008 and 2012 Regional Transportation Plans that the SR-710 would be a tolled tunnel at a cost of $5.6 billion. Executive Director, Hasan Ikhrata has stated many times publicly not only that a tunnel is the only solution but that it would offer trucks an alternative route. One must question whether SCAG is impartial when providing modeling for the study.

        The I-710 is being expanded for goods movement up to 14 lanes headed northward. Naturally the trucks would continue to the east-west connectors, the SR-60 and the I-210.

        The InfraConsult (now HDR) financial report stated that the tolled tunnel would have traffic volumes -and hence toll revenue- that are projected to be extremely high from opening day forward.

        Metro has marketed the SR-710 to investors in more than 4 separate presentations as a tolled tunnel. Nowhere are they marketing light rail, TSM or busways. One must question why they would prematurely market this project with specific details before the final EIR is released.

        These are but a few examples of why I believe that the study will not be “alternative-neutral.”

    • One hundred percent agreement here, Tom! In fact, the vast majority of the people who now drive the 710 would benefit from the construction and operation of more rail lines, and a whole lot less paving!

  3. Express bus service and Bus Rapid Transit will be best served on a surface route, because the 710-tunnel has exits only at its two portals meaning there cannot be any bus stops for it’s entire 4+mile route. It is a truck tunnel not a bus tunnel.

    • Yes, you are right. I think it is impossible to ban the trucks. I-710 is Long Beach Freeway! But I think van like the local bus is a possible and alternative option for the people who want to commute between Pasadena and I-710/I-10 junction area. In the case, the Metro should build some new bus stations and private cars parking lots. And the bus route can be PCC – Old Pasadena – Valley – CSULA – ELAC. Thank you.